(Memphis) Every year, millions of dollars set aside to help you during an emergency are wasted.
Police say people like Willie Tyler are to blame. Tyler is in jail, accused of making dozens of 911 calls, knowing there was no emergency.
Rosie Steele’s sister Catina suffered from a long-term stomach illness. It forced her to call 911 several times.
Sometimes, she couldn't get through.
“People call 911 because they really need help, he's got them tied up with crap,” exclaimed Steele.
Investigators say Tyler made 86 calls to 911, reporting shootings, finding bodies, even threatening to shoot someone. But every call over two and half months was bogus.
“She could have died waiting on help, while he's using taxpayers' money and time for stuff that didn’t matter,” said Steele.
Those fake 911 calls cost the city and its residents a lot of money. If police respond, it's $90. If it's the fire department, the cost is $250.
“Going from point A to point B is at a cost. You have to pay the firefighter; you have to pay for the maintenance of the vehicles. So it does add up,” said Memphis City Council Chair Edmund Ford, Jr.
If police responded to every call Tyler mad, he would have cost the city $7,740.
Steele calls that absurd and says something needs to be done to help stop wasting money.
Chairman Ford just sponsored an ordinance charging people $25 for false fire or burglar alarms. Now he wants to know if a similar plan for fake 911 calls will help stop them.
Ford says it’s not about money, it’s about public safety.
Placing a bogus 911 call is a misdemeanor.
Tyler heads to court next week.